Speaking two days before the first South Carolina-assembled 787 Dreamliner is slated to make its debut, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney expressed continued confidence in the North Charleston plane-making plant.
Delivering Boeing’s quarterly earnings results from the aerospace giant’s Chicago headquarters, McNerney said he “just got back from Everett and Charleston, taking a look at the lines” and thinks the 787 program is on track to meet previously announced delivery goals for this year and next.
“I would also add that Charleston looks very good, and you’re going to see the rollout of the first airplane later this week and delivery this summer,” McNerney said this morning. “And I think the learning curve progress in both places are giving me more and more confidence every day that the costs that underlie our plans are going to be met.”
McNerney said the delamination concern that arose earlier this year “had to do with workmanship” in the North Charleston aft-body factory but that it is now well in hand.
He said “14, 15” airplanes have been “reworked,” a process that has had an effect on Boeing’s internal month-to-month schedules. McNerney emphasized, however, that there shouldn’t be any decrease in deliveries for the year due to the incorrect shimming.
“But I would say understood, fixed, moving forward and we’re in good shape,” he said.
The Boeing boss said today that he would not be making a return trip to South Carolina for the highly anticipated rollout ceremony.
“Jim Albaugh will be leading the entourage on Friday,” McNerney said, referring to the chief executive officer of Boeing’s commercial airplanes business unit.
McNerney’s Lowcountry-specific comments to reporters came amid a wide-ranging discussion with analysts and reporters about Boeing’s better-than-expected first-quarter financial results; the 787 program’s profitability and deliveries forecast; and the possible effects of tornado damage in Wichita, defense budget cuts and the European debt crisis on the company’s bottom line.
Boeing’s $923 million in net income for the first three months of this year was up 58 percent from profits during the same period of 2011. Earnings per share, $1.22, was up 56 percent over the same period of last year.
Quarterly revenues grew 30 percent to $19.4 billion on the strength of increased commercial airplane deliveries, according to Boeing. The company increased its earnings per share guidance for 2012 to between $4.15 and $4.35.
Read more in tomorrow’s editions of The Post and Courier.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him on Twitter at @kearney_brendan.